Karai ventured out into the wilderness to find a magic sword. After besting the sword’s guardian, she has obtained the enchanted artifact and faces betrayal from the Yakuza boss that sent her on this mission. She sees no other option than to utterly destroy this man and take everything that was once his. Witness the birth of a super villain in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe #15.
This story arc, penned by Erik Burnham with Sophie Campbell has allowed Karai, as well as Bludgeon and Koya, to find their paths in life. Before this journey, they were aimless. The things that made them who they were were torn away from them. Karai lost the Foot Clan, Koya lost her wings, and Bludgeon lost his sight. They’re coming out of this arc as changed people, embracing new qualities that make them stronger and far more deadlier than before.
It’s rather chilling seeing Karai work. She’s very methodical and never lets emotion cloud her judgment. She approaches every obstacle rationally and comes to a level-headed conclusion. This probably makes her a sociopath and her actions in this issue certainly reinforce that idea. There’s one panel where she a smile and it looks almost foreign on her face, like it belongs to a completely different person and she’s just borrowing it.
Campbell’s artwork in TMNT Universe is absolutely gorgeous. The opening pages, coupled with Brittany Peer’s colors create a peaceful and somber tone to start the issue that is quickly drowned out by death and so much bloodshed. Here are four monsters (three literal and one figurative) coming to terms with their new status quo and deciding on their next steps, however deadly they may be. It’s a fun juxtaposition that is only amplified as the comic continues and Karai’s plan goes into effect.
The standout images in the issue, and possibly the arc, come when the mutants really let loose. Campbell focuses on them entirely, eliminating background and other details. All you see are these rampaging beasts as they tear through Yakuza henchmen like a hot knife through butter. There are some panels that appear in a stark black, white, and red, showcasing the animal savagery these creatures are capable of. This makes Peer’s colors pop off the page and really shine.
This sparse use of color comes up in a few other pages. It’s used sparingly and to great effect. It focuses your eyes on the most important things in each panel, really driving home the impact of what’s going on. It’s like everything else fades into the background so you only see the characters and their complete actions.
Campbell’s backup story with Koya concludes with a flourish. I love how the art style changes between key moments, offering some very unique images that fit the setting and tone of the story perfectly. It added some additional layers to Koya who prior to this was not much more than an exposed nerve, lashing out at anything and everything around her.
The Ninja Turtles defeated an epic enemy when the Shredder was taken down, but in taking over the Foot Clan, they may have inadvertently created an even fiercer foe in Karai. She demonstrates just how strong and capable she is in just a few pages. Adding the rage from Koya and the power of Bludgeon to the roster creates a devastating combination that should prove very trying for the Turtles. I cannot wait to see what happens when they come into contact with one another again. It’s going to be an insane battle and I’m not certain they will all walk away from it.